List Of Smithsonian Museums
The Smithsonian museums are the most widely visible part of the United States’ Smithsonian Institution and consist of 20 museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park. 17 of these collections are located in Washington D.C., with 11 of those located on the National Mall. The remaining ones are in New York City and Chantilly, Virginia. The Arts and Industries Building is only open for special events.
The birth of the Smithsonian Institution can be traced to the acceptance of James Smithson‘s legacy, willed to the United States in 1826. Smithson died in 1829, and in 1836, President Andrew Jackson informed Congress of the gift, which it accepted. In 1838, Smithson’s legacy, which totaled more than $500,000, was delivered to the United States Mint and entered the Treasury. After eight years, in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was established.
Washington Dc Museums Overview
Washington DC museums are some of the highest rated in the world. The majority of the Washington DC museums are free, which is a great benefit for travelers and locals alike. There are a lot of them, so its best to pick a few of your favorites or allocate 2-3 days to see them all. Below is a list of all the best Washington DC museums along with each museums address and hours of operation.
Museums Farther Than The Eye Can See
Smithsonians collection of knowledge centers serve as a treasure chest for visitors. The aforementioned Air and Space Museum and Natural History Museum are definitely fan favorites. TheAmerican History Museum, with its endless array of Americana , takes a comprehensive look at our countrys history, and the National Zoo, which features hundreds of species and the cutest panda cub around, Bei Bei, also draw millions each year.
But with the whole Smithsonian lineup at your disposal, we recommend that you also dig deeper in the District. Witness the wonders of Asian art at the Freer | Sackler Galleries. Marvel at cutting-edge exhibits and Instagrammable architecture at them Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and have your mind blown by the crafty wizardry seen in the art at the Renwick Gallery, located steps from the White House.
Take in centuries of artistic achievement at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and spend a lull or lunch at the architecturally riveting Kogod Courtyard. You wont have to travel far to see the most complete collection of presidential portraits, because the building is also home to the National Portrait Gallery. Each president is immortalized in the Americas Presidents exhibit, and the works come from artists named Rockwell, De Kooning and Close. Worldly art lovers will want to check out the African Art Museum, which showcases traditional and contemporary art from the continent, as well as a collection of more than 500 African relics.
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Museum Of Natural History
Address: 10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW | Museums of Natural History Hours: 10:00 AM 5:30 PM
The National Museum of Natural History is a free Smithsonian museum that is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world. Its the 2nd most visited museum in the world after the Louvre in Paris, making it both the most visited natural history museum in the world and most visited museum of any type in North America. The museums exhibits and research programs document 126 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human cultural artifacts, and insects, including 30 million insects pinned in tiny boxes and 4½ million plants pressed onto sheets of paper. This is the top-rated of the Washington DC museums.
The Museum of Natural History is one of the free Washington DC museums.
Freer Gallery Of Art And The Arthur M Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Ave, SWHours of Operation: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm daily
Heading southwest from the Smithsonian Castle, this guide to the Smithsonian takes you to the Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art. Together, they form the Smithsonians National Museum of Asian Art. Thanks to the generous donation of Charles Lang Freers collection of Asian and American art, the Freer Gallery was the first art museum in the Smithsonian Institution when it opened to the public in 1923.
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If you plan to visit the National Museum of Arts Freer Gallery or Sackler Gallery, dont miss the recently restored Peacock Room. Originally a dining room in an English mansion in London, the Peacock Room is now a work of art in Washington, DC. Blending rich blue, green, and gold tones with ceramics from Syria, Iran, Japan, China, and Korea, the Peacock Room continues to prove Freers belief that all works of art go together, whatever their period.
As additional time and interest permits, explore other collections of American, Egyptian, Islamic, Chinese, Himalayan, Japanese, Korean, Near Eastern, and Southeastern Asian Art at the National Museum of Asian Art.
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Map Of Smithsonian Museums
The Smithsonian Institution is the largest museum in the world. It is home to 19 museums and galleries, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo in Washington DC. Admission to all of the Smithsonian museums is free. Use the museum map to plan your visit!
To download a printable version of the map, right-click on one of the links below and depending on your browser, click on “Save Target As” or “Save Link As”. One of the documents are in PDF format requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing.
About This Guide To The Smithsonian
This guide to the Smithsonian starts with the Smithsonian Visitor Center and then loosely follows a counter-clockwise fashion around the National Mall. Simply walking from the Smithsonian Castle to the other nine museums listed in this guide is a 2.4-mile undertaking. Add in the distance youll walk exploring each museum, and that distance quickly grows longer.
Sage Advice: Explore Washington DC beyond the National Mall museums with this interactive scavenger hunt of DC.
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Museum Of American History
Address: 14th St and Constitution Ave NW | Museum of American History Hours: 10:00 AM 5:30 PM
The National Museum of American History is a free Smithsonian museum that highlights the social, political, cultural, scientific and military history of the United States. One of the featured items on display is the original Star-Spangled Banner the actual flag that the national anthem was written to after Francis Scott Key saw it still waving at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 against the British signifying that, after a long night of battle, America wasnt defeated. Exhibits demonstrate other significant moments and periods of American history, and some of the fun national treasures on display include Abraham Lincolns top hat, Dizzy Gillespies angled trumpet, and Dorothys ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
The Museum of American History is one of the free Washington DC museums.
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- Need something else to plan your perfect trip? Visit my travel resources page for more trusted partners. Happy wandering!
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Have You Visited Any Of The Smithsonian Museums On The National Mall
Which museums, exhibits, or artifacts did you enjoy the most? Is there anything missing from this guide to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall? If you havent been to a Smithsonian Museum yet, what is at the top of your travel bucket list? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Looking for more information to plan your Washington DC vacation? Check out my additional recommendations to help you plan your trip to Washington, DC, including what to see and do in Washington DC, the best places to stay in Washington DC, where to eat in Washington DC, and more!
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National Museum Of African American History And Culture
1400 Constitution Ave, NWHours of Operation: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm daily
Wrapping up this guide to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall is the National Museum of African American History and Culture, also known as the NMAAHC. After nearly 100 years in the making, the NMAAHC opened its doors on September 24, 2016. It remains the only national museum dedicated to the history and culture of African Americans. Over 85,000 square feet and five floors, the museum covers important historical topics like slavery, segregation, and civil rights as well as cultural topics like the arts, community, and religion.
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Sage Advice: While its also not part of the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum located directly across the National Mall from the National Museum of African History and Culture does an outstanding job of presenting this dark period in world history. If you plan to visit this museum, its worth it to pay a $1 per ticket convenience fee to guarantee your timed-entry ticket to the permanent collection.
The Freer Gallery Of Art
Freer | Sackler Galleries
The vibrant and colorful world of Asian art is all around at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art, which make up the Smithsonian Institution’s Museums of Asian Art. One of DCs most beautiful buildings, the Freer was the first Smithsonian museum devoted solely to art when it was first built, while the Sackler houses decorative and devotional objects from across Asia. Together, the collections hold more than 25,000 objects spanning 6,000 years. The museums recently underwent extensive renovations, with reinstalled and restored exhibitions and special new features offered throughout both galleries. The Freer Gallery of Art will reopen on July 16, while the Sackler Gallery remains closed until November for exhibition construction. For more information, visit the museum’s website.
The Washington Post called the National Museum of African Art the most important research facility for African art in America. The museum, which will reopen on July 16, boasts a broad collection of 9,000 pieces, including sacred objects, textiles, ancient Egyptian carvings, musical instruments and so much more.
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National Museum Of The American Indian
4th St SW & Independence Ave.Hours of Operation: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm daily
This guide to the Smithsonian now brings you to the southeastern most Smithsonian museum on the National Mall. As you approach the National Museum of the American Indian, youll immediately note that the building is quite unique from the others in the Smithsonian Institution.
With a team of Native Americans leading its design, the five-story, curved building looks like natural rock shaped by the elements of wind and water over thousands of years. Every aspect of the museum is intended to reinforce the oneness that the indigenous people have with the planet. Donna E. House, the Navajo and Oneida botanist who supervised the museums landscaping explained the approach by saying, We are the trees, we are the rocks, we are the water. And that had to be part of the museum.
Sage Advice: If youre in New York, you can visit a second National Museum of the American Indian. Housed in the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House at One Bowling Green.
A collection of more than 800,000 objects and 125,000 photographs is on display at the National Museum of the American Indian. It represents the history and culture of a wide range of indigenous people from both North and South America. The galleries are organized into areas dedicated to people from the Amazon, Andes, Arctic and Subarctic, California, Mesoamerican and Caribbean, Northwestern Coast, Patagonia, Plains and Plateau, and Woodlands regions.
The Smithsonian Institution Building
1000 Jefferson Dr. SWHours of Operation: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm daily
Kicking off this complete guide to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall is the Smithsonian Visitors Center. Designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., the Smithsonian Institution red sandstone building looks like a 12th-century castle in Normandy, France. Thus, its nickname, the Castle.
The Castle is the perfect place to begin your Smithsonian Institution experience because a crypt just outside the north entrance to the Castle contains the tomb of James Smithson. And if it werent for James Smithson, there probably wouldnt be a Smithsonian Institution.
Born out of wedlock in Paris and raised in England, James Smithson was an 18th-century English chemist and mineralogist. Smithson never married nor had children, so his entire estate was left to his nephew. However, if Smithsons nephew were to die without heirs , then Smithsons worldly possessions were to be used to found in Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.
Fun Fact: Although James Smithson stipulated that the Smithsonian Institution be founded in Washington, DC, the scientist had never actually visited the United States. How lucky for us!
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National Air And Space Museum
600 Independence Ave. SWHours of Operation: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm daily
Sage Advice: The National Air and Space Museum offers free, 90-minute tours daily at 10:30 am and 1:00 pm.
Kicking off the second half of this guide to the Smithsonian National Mall museums is the National Air and Space Museum. With more than 20 galleries in a 161,000 square foot museum, the National Air and Space Museum is the largest in the Smithsonian Institutions portfolio. And with more than eight million visitors annually, the National Air and Space Museum is not only the most popular of the Smithsonian museums, its actually the most visited museum in the entire United States! Its collection of aircraft, artwork, instruments, uniforms and more is fully dedicated to the history of flight and exploring beyond planet Earth.
Visit the National Air and Space Museum to see historic objects like:
Sage Advice: Away from the National Mall, the Air and Space Museum at the Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in Chantilly, Virginia, houses even more amazing sights. See more about it below.
When you visit, dont overlook other experiences like:
- Watching a movie in the IMAX theater or attending a show in the planetarium
- Seeing a demonstration or attending a storytime
- Experiencing the thrill of flight in a virtual reality simulator
Hirshhorn Museum And Sculpture Garden
Independence Ave and 7th St.Hours of Operation: Museum Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm . Plaza Open daily from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm . Sculpture Garden Open daily from 7:30 am to dusk
Sage Advice: The Hirshhorn Museum offers free, 45-minute tours daily at 12:30 and 3:30.
The large, circular building that looks like a car air filter on legs is the Hirshhorn Museum. It sits almost equally between the Washington Monument on the west side of the National Mall and the US Capitol Building on the right and includes a sunken sculpture garden. It is named after Joseph H. Hirshhorn who achieved success by investing in uranium-mining businesses. When he sold his interests in 1955, he earned more than $50 million. With this money, Hirshhorn expanded an already impressive collection of classic French Impressionists to include many other works of art.
Fun Fact: Although most of the funding for the museum that bears his name was via federal funds, Hirshhorn ultimately contributed $1 million toward the buildings construction.
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Nw Between 9th St Nw And 12 St Nw Google Map
Smithsonian Museum Map Washington Dc. Free timed-entry passes required. Admission to all of the Smithsonian museums is free. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Washington DC 20004 Smithsonian American Art Museum 8th and F Sts NW Washington DC 20004 Smithsonians National Zoo 3001 Connecticut Ave NW Washington DC 20008 National Postal Museum 2 Massachusetts Ave NE Washington DC 20002 Smithsonian Institution 900 Jefferson Dr SW Washington DC 20560 Castle Cafe 1000 Jefferson Dr SW Washington DC 20004. The striped areas will be closed. 25 Were on the National Mall 10th St.
Museum Address The museum entrance is located on Madison Dr. It is home to 19 museums and galleries 9 research centers and the National Zoo in Washington DC. Reopens July 16 2021 Wednesday through Sunday 11 am.
The Smithsonian permits still and video photography for noncommercial use only in its museums and exhibitions unless otherwise posted. To create a safe environment for our visitors some parts of the National Museum of American History will not be available during your visit. Smithsonian visitors regardless of age must have a free timed-entry pass to enter our museums and zoo.
Smithsonian Museums Map And Directions
Map Of Smithsonian Museums On Or Near The National Mall Washington Dc Museum Washington Dc Travel Washington Dc Vacation
Smithsonian Museums Map And Directions
Map Of Smithsonian Museums Washington Dc
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